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Turning Research into Patient Care

Spring 1997

The Kinsey Institute Clinics Take a Holistic Approach

The Kinsey Institute Menstrual Cycle Clinic

Women who experience menstrual and premenstrual problems often become frustrated in their search for relief. Many go from doctor to doctor and treatment to treatment, including Prozac, without satisfactory results. The Kinsey Institute's new Menstrual Cycle Clinic offers an alternative to this fragmented care.

"We use an interdisciplinary approach to treatment that takes into account both physical and psychological factors," says Dr. John Bancroft, director of the Kinsey Institute and head of the Menstrual Cycle Clinic. "Such a combined approach is not readily available through the present health care system."

The clinic is staffed by Bancroft, who is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at IU Bloomington, and Dr. Diana Ebling, a university physician at the IU Health Center. In assessing each woman's problem, they consider the relative importance of three factors: hormonal cycle, menstruation, and vulnerability (stress, relationship problems, or a tendency to get depressed). Clients record information about these factors in an initial questionnaire on the first visit and in daily logs kept for two months.

"With this detailed information, we are able to recommend the treatment or intervention measures that are most likely to help each individual woman," Ebling says. "Such a targeted approach allows us to significantly improve the situation for the majority of women who come to the clinic."

The clinic, which is open to the general public, as well as to IU students, is located in the Health Center on the Bloomington campus.

The Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic

In contrast to the experience of most of the Menstrual Cycle Clinic clients, some of the individuals and couples who come to the Kinsey Institute's Sexual Health Clinic may have received no previous treatment or assistance. "There are so many factors involved in sexual dysfunction - emotional, physical, relationship difficulties - that many people just don't know where to turn," explains Bancroft, who directs the clinic.

Again, it is a holistic approach that produces the best treatment. Each client's situation is carefully assessed through an interview process and, where appropriate, other diagnostic procedures to determine whether physical or psychological issues, or both, are relevant.

The treatment available at the clinic ranges from simple advice and supportive counseling to referral for surgical treatment. Like the Menstrual Cycle Clinic, the Sexual Health Clinic is located in the IU Health Center and is open to IU students and the general public.

Commenting on the importance of the clinics, Dr. Robert B. Jones, vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Medicine at the IU School of Medicine, states, "The Kinsey Institute's commitment to addressing difficult health problems in an interdisciplinary fashion provides an important treatment model, as well as a significant public service."

Operating the clinics allows the Kinsey Institute to pursue its mission through "helping people on a local level with ordinary sexual and reproductive health problems in their lives," Bancroft says. The clinics also complement the Institute's research programs, both creating a venue for new information generated by the Institute's research projects to be put to practical use and providing the Institute's researchers with useful data. Finally, the clinics also provide a training ground for counselors and other professionals.

For More Information

For more information about the Menstrual Cycle Clinic or Sexual Health Clinic, please call 812/855-3878, see General Information about the Clinics or go to "Serving the Community, Enriching the Profession," in the September 1997 Research and Creative Activity, an online publication of Indiana University.

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